A Round Valley Tribal Police officer noticed a damaged bicycle on the shoulder of Mendocino Pass Road, and when he stopped to check it out, he found the deceased driver laying nearby. According to a California Highway Patrol officer at the scene, the cyclist was believed to be struck by a vehicle sometime Monday afternoon, January 21, while riding eastbound on Mendocino Pass Road (SR-162), and the driver of the vehicle fled the scene.
The coroner pronounced the cyclist dead at the scene, and police are asking the public for any information about the incident. You can call the California Highway Patrol at (707) 923-2155.
A cyclist is especially vulnerable when driving on public streets and roads. Cars have 20 times the mass of a bike and its rider, and even a small collision can bring severe injuries to the cyclist. When the driver of the vehicle flees, it puts the cyclist in even greater danger because this might delay getting much needed medical aid as there is often no one else around to call for help.
Due to the potential for serious injury, a cyclist is in greater need of a fast response. However, when the driver—who is usually unhurt—flees, then it may be minutes or even hours longer before someone else calls the police.
Insurance Claims and Hit-and-Run
To make matters worse, the fact that the at-fault driver is unknown piles on the difficulties for the cyclist. This raises questions for the many Bay Area Cyclists who fall victim to a hit-and-run accident:
- Who is going to pay for my injuries and loss time from work?
- Can I make a claim against my own insurance company?
- If so, even if I was riding a bike?
- Am I now an enemy with my own insurance company?
- What if I settle and then they find the person who did it? Do I have to pay back my insurance company?
These questions create uncertainty for many hit-and-run victims, and the answers are dependent on a lot of factors. After focusing on getting medical treatment, the victim should make sure all information at the crime scene is preserved. This may not be possible if the victim is too injured or unconscious. But if it’s possible, the victim should:
- Get pictures.
- Info from responding agencies.
- Save all damaged or even undamaged bike equipment as they can be useful later.
- Work with police to make sure all accident scene evidence is preserved.
Do I need an Attorney for a Hit-and-Run?
Most likely, yes. You need to talk to someone who knows how insurance policies work and have experience with hit-and-run accidents as well as California bicycle law. The attorneys at Bay Area Bike Law are the only firm in northern California that deals exclusively with bicycle law.
Start putting someone on your side, call us at (415) 466 8717 or click here to contact us online. If you still wonder if we’re the right firm for you or even if you need an attorney, read this this for help answering these questions.
Please be aware that these case results do not constitute a guarantee, warranty, or prediction regarding the outcome of your legal matter. Every case is different and case values turn on small facts and differences. Thus, the results achieved on one case do not necessarily mean the attorney will achieve the same result, or a similar result, even for a case which may have some similarities.